Things to do near
*Distances are shown as the crow flies and not necessarily the actual travelling
Woodstock (1 km from Observatory)
The legendary Old Biscuit Mill is something of an institution in the Mother City.
It has the vibe of a warm-hearted country hamlet situated in the middle of the bustling suburb of Woodstock.
This vibrant spot is home to night and day markets, dynamic office spaces, workshops and designer stores, delicious farm-stalls, decadent cafes as well as an awesome line-up of festivals and events.
'The Mill' is also a place where people share, collaborate and show off their heart-felt passion. Explore the Mill and meet some of South Africa’s most talented designers, artists, photographers and connoisseurs of fine taste and décor.
Where? 373 - 375 Albert Road, Woodstock
Galleries and Museums
Rosebank - CT (2.2 km from Observatory)
Irma Stern was a major South African artist who achieved national and international recognition in her lifetime.
Established in 1971, the museum is in fact the house of the late artist. The permanent collection at the Irma Stern Museum shows Irma Stern's development as an artist, with subject matter including exotic figures, portraits, lush landscapes and still lifes conveyed in a variety of media. Upstairs you'll find a collection of more commercial items by contemporary artists.
A temporary exhibition programme is arranged annually and visitors can enjoy the garden. Open Tuesday to Saturday, 10:00 to 17:00.
Devils Peak (2.3 km from Observatory)
The multitude of Grecian-style columns and host of lion sculptures on the slope of Table Mountain is something of a curiosity.
This rather grand, shrine-like structure goes way beyond being a memorial to the imperialist Cecil John Rhodes but it’s a great place to go for tea and take in the magnificent view of bustling Cape Town towards the Helderberg and Hottentots Holland Mountains.
Built on the site where Rhodes liked to sit and ponder his future, it was a short ride on his horse from his home at Groote Schuur, where the famous hospital now lies. Rhodes Memorial Restaurant is open 9am to 5pm, 7 days a week.
Table Mountain National Park (2.3 km from Observatory)
Park at Rhodes Memorial and take the path at the top left of the parking area. Head up the hill to the King’s Block House, a 1796 stone lookout post with commanding views of False Bay and the Castle. From here, the route follows the Contour Path, a trail that extends in both directions towards Kirstenbosch or the face of Table Mountain.
Continue for 2 – 3 hours along the Contour Path through to Newlands Forest and lovely sections of indigenous forest before eventually reaching Kirstenbosch. To maximize the trail experience, continue past Skeleton Gorge waterfall until you reach the Smuts Track and Yellowwood Trail junction. Continue down to Kirstenbosch from here.
Duration: 2.5 – 3 hours one way
Distance: 6 km
Photo source: en.wikipedia.org
Galleries and Museums
Rondebosch (2.6 km from Observatory)
The Baxter Theatre Centre provides an exciting forum for the celebration of life which is the essence of live theatre, music and dance. It is one of the major live theatre venues in Cape Town and has always been at the forefront of the performing arts both as a popular venue and as a leading producer.The Baxter Theatre Centre at the University of Cape Town endeavours to present and host the best of South African performing arts. The objective is to reflect the cultures of all the people of South Africa on our stages and in our galleries. The Baxter Theatre strives to present cutting-edge and major works from South Africa and masterpieces from the international repertoire. Since its opening in 1977 the complex has continued to provide a stage for all types of professional entertainment - music, drama, ballet, opera and intimate theatre. Even through the difficult years of racial segregation its doors remained open to everyone and it thrived, drawing on indigenous talent and creating a uniquely South African theatre tradition.
Rondebosch (2.8 km from Observatory)
The University of Cape Town, fondly called UCT, presides over the southern suburbs and Cape Flats from its lofty position on the slopes of Devil’s Peak on Table Mountain. UCT's setting and beautiful historic buildings make it one of the most attractive universities in South Africa.Famous students who have walked its halls include Prof Christian Barnard, the heart transplant surgeon and three Nobel Prize laureates – the writer JM Coetzee, Prof Alan MacLeod Cormack and Sir Aaron Klug.Visitors often walk from UCT to Rhodes Memorial. Another popular spot is the ‘Jammie steps’ leading up to Jameson Hall. These steps used to be the hub of many heated political protests and debates during the Apartheid regime.
Rondebosch (3.2 km from Observatory)
This public open space has many walking paths. The ever changing landscape and pretty seasonal endemic flowers, birds, butterflies and other creatures making it a great escape from rush-rush of everyday life. Dogs, children and their accompanying adults make it a great meeting place for the neighbourhood. The sunsets are stunning and in the winter mists you may see Blue Crane,and the natural ponds abound with tadpoles. It is 5 minutes walk from the guesthouse.
Pinelands (3.6 km from Observatory)
Howard Centre is the local Pinelands shopping centre where you can find some interesting small shops, a number of coffee shops and restaurants plus the top food and retail shopping stores.
All needs catered for in a friendly neighbourhood environment; the perfect place to pick up some needed supplies if you're staying in the peaceful area of Pinelands.
Mowbray (3.9 km from Observatory)
Located just a short drive away from Cape Town's city centre, Rondebosch Golf Club is known as a must-play course among locals.
The 18-hole course was founded in 1911 and prides itself with a full 72 championship rating. Facilities include a pro shop, half-way house, and function hall.
Galleries and Museums
Newlands (4.2 km from Observatory)
Have you ever wondered how the Mother City got flour for her daily bread? Visit the Josephine Mill Museum for a trip back to a bygone era. This darling of the Cape Town Historical Society was restored in 1988. The fine iron waterwheel turning once again supplying the surrounding community with freshly milled, stone ground flour, just as it had done, for so many years before. Today the Mill is a fun destination that not only honours a precious piece of Cape History, but also respects the traditions of the community, an awareness of natural and organic living and responsibility to the environment.Plans to turn the museum from a small display of recovered artefacts into a stimulating exhibition of the stone milling process are well underway. A major challenge is to recreate the original watercourses to supply the waterwheel and harness the power of the Liesbeek River. Mill pundits and scholars alike will be offered a rare insight into the methods and equipment devised to industrialise the production of flour. The Mill Museum will offer an intriguing exhibition of stone milling in process, and showpiece the history of power and its evolution from water to steam to electricity - and back again.
Sports Stadiums Clubs
Newlands (4.2 km from Observatory)
Headquarters of the DHL Stormers and DHL Western Province Rugby squad, the grand old Newlands Rugby Stadium is one of the three oldest rugby stadiums in the world.
Set in the ultra-green suburb of Newlands, Newlands Rugby Stadium has a capacity of 51 000 with steeply elevated stands affording maximum visibility and electrifying viewpoints.
Cape Town's three Premier Soccer League clubs also utilize the facilities for their inter-club matches.
City Centre (4.3 km from Observatory)
The Mother City's 'One-Stop-Shop of Creative Excellence' is situated between Table Mountain and Table Bay. The Artscape Theatre Centre is home to the Artscape performing arts company and includes the Opera House, Theatre, Arena, Piazza and News Café.
Originally established 40 years ago as the official performing arts council for the Western Cape, Artscape has today developed into a vibrant, multi-functional creative arts centre, offering exceptional venue facilities and specialist theatrical services. With its close proximity to Cape Town's central business district, the new International Convention Centre and the V&A Waterfront, Artscape is ideally situated to serve the Cape's performing arts, film, tourism, entertainment, conference and exhibition industries.
Artscape Opera House auditorium is the largest theatre in the Western Cape and seats 1187 and offers a variety of productions from contemporary opera to ballet, large scale musicals to semi-staged orchestral performances. Artscape Theatre auditorium seats 540 if the pit is not utilised. The size of the orchestra pit determines the number of seats.
The Artscape Arena theatre was originally the right side of Artscape Theatre. The raked auditorium can seat up to 140 people. A cosy bar at street level offers opportunities for intimate art exhibitions and private parties.
DF Malan Street, Foreshore, Cape Town
+27 (0) 21 410 9800
City Centre (4.4 km from Observatory)
A unique combination of cultural and military history, exhibitions and military ceremonies awaits you at the Castle of Good Hope. Also experience the dungeons, dolphin pool, blacksmith, cannon fire, horse and carriage rides and above all the tranquil atmosphere of the Castle of Good Hope.Built between 1666 and 1679 by the Dutch East India Company, better known as the VOC (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie), this pentagonal fortification replaced a small clay and timber fort built in 1652 by Commander Jan van Riebeeck, founder of the maritime replenishment station at the Cape of Good Hope. The oldest building in South Africa, it is steeped in history but moving with the times.The Castle lends itself to many present day activities, such as open air concerts with Table Mountain as a backdrop, film and fashion shoots as well as a variety of venues for corporate functions and conferences.Guided tours are conducted by Castle guides from Monday to Saturdayat 11:00, 12:00 and 14:00. Traditional ceremonies take place during weekdays.The Key Ceremony was performed in the Castle from its earliest days and depicts the unlocking of the Castle of Good Hope. This ceremony takes place at 10:00 and 12:00 during weekdays.The firing of the signal cannon directly after the Key Ceremony is symbolic to indicate the significance of cannons at the Castle of Good Hope.The Castle Guard performs both these ceremonies. The Castle of Good Hope opens daily at 09:00 and closes at 16:00.
Galleries and Museums
District Six (4.5 km from Observatory)
An exciting new theatre in Cape Town’s legendary District Six, The Fugard, is home to the internationally acclaimed Isango Portobello Theatre Company - an exciting example of what can transpire when local talent and vision meets committed international support.The Fugard is located in the historic Sacks Futeran building with the original decommissioned Congregational Church Hall in Caledon Street as its entrance. The theatre is named in honour of Athol Fugard, South Africa’s greatest playwright who will be present at the inauguration. The 270 seat theatre complex, including a rehearsal studio, foyer space, dressing rooms and office space, is a transformation of two warehouse spaces and the original Congregational Church Hall.
Sports Stadiums Clubs
Newlands (4.5 km from Observatory)
Fondly called Newlands Cricket Ground by locals, Sahara Park Newlands in the Southern Suburbs is something of an institution in the Mother City.
Considered one of the most stunning cricket venues on the globe, Sahara Park is home to the Cape Cobras and is a regular Test Match venue, carrying a seating capacity of 25 000.
The beautiful grounds neighbour Newlands Stadium and are backed by gorgeous views of Table Mountain and Devil's Peak.